Maintaining your home exterior can become increasingly burdensome as you age. You should make improvements to increase the safety and the ease of navigating outdoors and help you get into or out of your home.
Several aspects of getting in and out of your home can become more difficult as you age. Preparing now will alleviate common problems, such as being unable to climb or descend steps or raised entries, needing to allow access by a wheelchair or walker, and preventing slipping and tripping accidents caused by improper access.
Exterior doorways should be 36 inches wide. This will allow you to enter your home, whether walking, using a cane or walker, or using a wheelchair. The minimum width that a wheelchair can pass through is 32 inches. If your opening cannot be resized, you may want to try using offset door hinges. This type of hinge can increase the clearance of a narrower door. Install a lever door handle on the door and a key-less lock system. Entranceway flooring should be slip resistant.
A shelf or seat by the door provides a place to set packages while you find keys and open the door. This will prevent falls at the main entrance, as trying to open a door with packages in your arms might cause a fall on entrances with a step.
As your range of motion declines, lifting your legs up and over a traditional threshold may become more difficult. Modifying the height of the threshold (step up) at the main doorway to be no more than a three inches is best. Any steps should have a texture surface applied to them to prevent slipping. If you have multiple steps, you may want to install a ramp for easier access and a handrail on both sides of the steps, or provide a space for a ramp to be installed later if needed. If you install a ramp, it should slope gently, provide plenty room for walking and turning, and have handrails on each side.
Depending on the elevation of the ground at each entrance, you may need to limit the doors by which you enter or exit your home to those that allow easy access and passage.
The sidewalk leading to each of your entryways should be a minimum of 36″ wide and should not be overly steep. If a sidewalk can become slippery or is uneven in places, consider having a textured surface applied to it. Cracked and/or uneven sidewalks can be major tripping hazards. You should also keep shrubs, bushes and trees cut back on both sides of sidewalks and steps. You may want to install an overhang or canopy to cover the main entrance.
You should install adequate lighting to help illuminate walkways, assist with identifying obstacles, and reduce the risk of falling. Be sure there is a light by the entrance door, preferably one with an electric eye that turns on the light automatically. Install lighting along pathways and security lighting on every corner of the house and other areas of concern. An electrical contractor can help you with ideas on how to improve exterior lighting and safety.
Having a low-maintenance exterior construction (vinyl, brick) on your home helps to minimize needed upkeep. Having low-maintenance landscaping reduces the amount of work required as well as your expense if you turn maintenance over to a company. Remove landscaping and yard accents that increase maintenance needs.
Make sure your roof is in good repair. Water damage from a leaking roof can create serious issues to both the inside and outside of your home. Aside from damage to ceilings, walls and floors, damp areas can become moldy, and puddles could cause you to slip.
To give you a better idea of what is available in each category of Home Exterior, shown below are three examples of each type of Home Exterior item described on this page. I have selected examples from higher consumer-rated Home Exterior items offered on Amazon. Click the picture of the item or the “Buy Now” button below the description to read more about each item shown.
Note: Despite the name, the “Buy Now” button does not commit you to buy. It is just a link to information. If you happen to choose to buy any item you see below, or any other item you see while on the Amazon site, you can, of course, but will need to enter payment-method information in order to complete a purchase. So browse and research without worry that you are committing to buy anything by clicking a Buy Now button below.
Below are some higher consumer-rated Ramps options that you may like.Return to Chapter 9 page.
MAGIC UNION 2″ Rise Solid Rubber Power Wheelchair Threshold Ramp Doorway
Threshold Ramp 2″ Rise
MAGIC UNION solid rubber threshold ramps are a safe and easy way to transition a raised surface with a power scooter, wheelchair, walker, or by foot around the home and office. Each threshold ramp features beveled edges for a smooth and gradual approach to and from a raised surface. The one-piece design is portable, handy, and creates a finished look at the base of a doorway. Molded channels in the ramp surface allow water to drain away and provides excellent traction in any weather. Make doorway access easy with a Silver Spring rubber threshold ramp! Made with durable 100% recycled rubber for years of reliable use.
Silver Spring 4″ High Rubber 3-Channel Threshold Ramp for Wheelchairs, Mobility Scooters, and Power Chairs, with Slip-Resistant Surface – DH-UP-84
Spring Rubber Solid Threshold Ramp 4″ Rise
Easily overcome rises up to 4″ high in your wheelchair, scooter, or power chair with the Silver Spring Rubber Solid Threshold Ramp – perfect for use at home, at work, or anywhere mobility is an issue. Made with all-weather rubber, these threshold ramps are an ideal solution to navigate small rises throughout your home or office. Silver Spring consistently offers customers superior products at affordable prices, exclusively from Discount Ramps.
Clevr 6′ (72″ X 31″) Extra Wide Non-Skid Traction Aluminum Wheelchair Scooter Loading Ramp, Lightweight Folding Portable, Holds Up to 600 lbs
Aluminum Ramp 6″ Rise
The Clevr aluminum loading ramp for wheelchairs and power scooters provides conveniently safe access to porches, curbs, and landings. The ramp measures 31″ wide (31″ wide inside, 31-1/4″ outside) and 72″ long. The 31″ inside width is designed to fits most wheelchairs. Features: a usable grit coat surface for superior traction in any weather condition, safety pins for locking and landing attachment, and a built-in carrying handle. The sturdy all-aluminum construction allows 600 lbs capacity, maximum durability and portability. .